There is a common misconception that Allspice is a blend of different spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Allspice is not a mixed spice blend and is in fact none of those other spices. Allspice is a fruit that is picked before it is ripe from an evergreen tree called the Pimenta dioica. The fruit looks much like a peppercorn.
So where did the name Allspice come from?
In the 15th century pepper was considered to be a very valuable spice. When the Spanish arrived in the Americas, they found this evergreen tree and thought the berries on the Pimenta dioica were pepper. It caused much confusion and disappointment to those hoping to trade this valuable commodity. Over time, in order to avoid the confusion, spice traders started calling this spice Allspice. The name came from the fact that the flavor tasted like a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg – “all the spices.”